International Library Conferences: The Professional Development Benefits for Librarians, the Hurdles of Attending and the Potential Outcomes

International Library Conferences: The Professional Development Benefits for Librarians, the Hurdles of Attending and the Potential Outcomes

James Thull (Montana State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4675-9.ch002
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Abstract

This chapter provides information on international conferences and the reasons librarians should consider attending and presenting at professional conferences outside of their home countries. There are significant benefits for libraries and librarians who choose to venture abroad for professional development opportunities. Professional rejuvenation, networking opportunities, dissemination of information and the ability to see new perspectives on librarianship are just a few of the reasons librarians choose to attend international conferences. Methods and tools for selecting conferences focusing on librarianship and other disciplines are discussed in detail. The difficulties of attending conferences in distant lands is examined, including ways to mitigate costs, get buy-in and support from colleagues and administrators, receive funding, and the planning needed to make any international conference venture satisfying, rewarding, and memorable.
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Background

Conference attendance is a necessity for all professionals and librarians are no exception. For librarians working in academic libraries, conference attendance is often a requirement of the job and needed to advance one’s career. Given that librarians have a need to attend conferences anyway, international library conferences should be a consideration for all but especially for librarians new to the field and those working in academic libraries. For those new to the field of librarianship, an international conference can help them determine the direction of their careers and the overall impact they want to make. The exposure to the world of librarianship at the beginning of one’s career will inspire a librarian to think about the possibilities of their own life, the people that they can serve and the difference that they can make both locally and globally.

For academic librarians, the exposure to colleagues the world over can serve to invigorate and provide perspective on their own services, libraries and resources. In addition participation in international conferences reflects well on the librarian’s home university and on their personal resume. The exposure, learning and networking that can occur can be life changing and help put our career choice into perspective in terms of its value not only to the patrons we serve directly but to patrons the world over.

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